An underwhelming in size crowd shuffled into The Observatory without haste on Sept. 15 to see the Juno-nominated band Royal Canoe. The group, out of Winnipeg, Man., was given a warm greeting as they took the stage for their first ever performance at Algonquin.
“They seem like a group of humble guys who are making pop music that they’d want to hear,” said Rory MacLeod, 22, first-year project management graduate certificate program student at Algonquin.
The sparsely attended show kicked off with singer Matt Peters motioning audience members to get up out of their seats and crowd the stage. By the time they played through their opening tracks Hold on to the Metal and Show Me Your Eyes, there were few in attendance still resistant to the layered rhythms and harmony-strewn vibes clattering out of the speakers up front.
The first thing to grasp about Royal Canoe might be their level of musicianship. Rivalling drumbeats from dual percussionists combined with the psychedelic use of synthesizers work to create an energy-infused mix of pop, rock and hip-hop.
The band doesn’t fit snuggly into just one, single genre but rather “draws influence from all angles” in crafting their sound.
“We’ve got a blend of songs for everyone. Ones you can sit back and listen to and maybe some more if you want to get up and move,” said bassist Bucky Driedger.
The six-piece ensemble consists of Matt Peters, Derek Allard, Matthew Schoellenberg, Michael Jordan, Bucky Dreidger and Brendan Berg.
After catching the band’s set at Osheaga last summer, Alex Gibbons, 19, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Ottawa, says it was amazing being able to catch the band in such a close setting.
“There’s not a lot of people here so it’ll be a sick show I think,” said Gibbons. “I had to make it down – I couldn’t miss it.”